Retire at 65? Yeah, right.
Multiple surveys reveal that Americans are getting increasingly jaded about their prospects for enjoying a relaxing retirement, so much so that many are throwing in the towel and not even bothering to plan for it at all.
According to a survey of 2,000 Americans conducted for Allianz Life, 84% of them characterize the idea of a retirement where they can do what they want as a "fantasy."
A second study, this one from the TransAmerica Center for Retirement Studies, also finds that one in five Americans thinks they'll have to keep punching the clock until they literally can't work anymore, and 37% expect wages earned from working to be part of their "retirement" income. More than 80% of workers who have already hit the 60-year milestone expect to work past 65, already are or don't plan to retire at all.
“Retirement has become a transition," Catherine Collinson, president of the TransAmerica Center, said in a statement.
About two-thirds of Gen X'ers and half of Baby Boomers responding to the Allianz survey think the amount they're expected to save will be impossible to reach.
Of the two groups, Generation X is the more cynical by far, even though they're the ones with more time to plan for their retirements. (They're also the group likely to have higher expenses, though, with obligations like mortgages like kids' college funds and mortgages that aren't on Boomers' radar anymore.)
Only 10% of TransAmerica survey respondents who are in their 40s are "very" confident in their ability to live comfortably in retirement, and more than half of those in their 50s admitted to just guessing how much money they'll need in retirement. More than two-thirds of Gen X'ers responding to the Allianz survey say they'll never have enough money to retire, and more than 40% say it's "useless to plan for retirement when everything is so uncertain." More than half say they "just don’t think about putting money away for the future"
"Their hands-off approach to planning and preparation is alarming," Allianz Life vice president of Consumer Insights Katie Libbe said in a statement accompanying the release of the survey.
That's bad news. Gen X's reputation for pessimism and angst is on full display in this survey, Libbe points out, and these character traits threaten to undermine their financial future.
Generation Y is more engaged, but they're not doing so hot, either. The TransAmerica survey finds that young adults don't have great expectations for retirement, either. More than 80% are worried that Social Security might not be there for them, and more than half aren't counting on it to provide retirement income for them at all.
The good news is about two-thirds of twenty-somethings are already saving for retirement, but they might not be going about it in the most effective way, given that 37% say they know "nothing" about how they should be allocating their assets.
Still, their longer time horizon gives millennials the best shot at saving for a comfortable retirement, Collinson points out. "They can grow their nest eggs over four to five decades and enjoy the compounding of their investments over time," she points out.